BOB KORNEGAY: Why didn't I ask why first?

OUTDOORS COLUMN: For three decades, questions about the great outdoors have gone unanswered

Bob Kornegay

Bob Kornegay

I was once a schoolteacher. I retired back in 2005. For 30 long years I imparted knowledge and molded (some say “mouldered”) young minds. For 30 long years, I bandaged skinned knees, soothed juvenile heartaches and broke up middle-school fisticuffs. For 30 long years I corrected papers and attempted to explain everything under the sun. For 30 long years I heard the question, “Why?” in my sleep.

“Why didn’t Julius Caesar just whup out a gun and shoot Brutus and them?”

“If Isaac Newton was so smart, why’d he go to sleep under a tree fulla ripe apples?”

“If D-O-G is pronounced ‘dawg,’ then why ain’t H-O-G ‘hawg?’ “

“Why can’t we cuss like you just did, Mr. K.?”

My, oh my. Thirty long years of that and I still don’t hate children. Wonder of wonders.

What I do hate, however, is the fact that, being so dadgum busy fielding “Why?” queries; I never got to exercise my well-earned right to ask some of my own, particularly where an outdoorsman’s life is concerned. I beg your patience, dear reader, while I do so now.

Thank you.

  1. Why do folks who get up at 3 a.m. to watch British royalty get married or watch soap opera reruns ridicule me for arising at that same hour to go hunting or fishing?
  2. Why do golfers who hit little white balls into ponds and angrily bend expensive clubs around trees tell me to calm down when I stupidly miss or lose a trophy largemouth? And, considering my high blood pressure, why don’t I heed their advice?
  3. Why do rat snakes and blacksnakes bite me at least 47 times when I’m only trying to free them from bird-feeder prison or scared, angry women with sharp hoes?
  4. Why do chiggers find me so appetizing, especially in places I can’t politely scratch in public?
  5. Why do I, a college graduate and brilliant outdoor journalist, believe Cletus Monroe when he tells me I can stand up in a canoe or kayak if I’m really, really careful?
  6. Why do I always get the rental boat with the three-days-dead bluegill in the livewell?
  7. Why isn’t the water moccasin in that same livewell as dead as the bluegill?
  8. Why does the fishing guide who says, “Alligators never attack people” have a long, jagged scar running from crotch to Adam’s apple?
  9. Why did I take the trail without those little orange paint blazes on the trees?
  10. Why is it so dark, why do I need to “go” so badly, and why is the zipper on my sleeping bag stuck?
  11. Why do U.S. Forest Service road signs innocuously read “FS 69,” “FS 4,” etc. instead of “Turn around, fool, unless you’re driving a bulldozer”?
  12. Why does my outboard motor never break down less than five miles from the boat ramp?
  13. Why did I leave my paddle in the truck?
  14. Why do catfish taste so good when they eat stuff that tastes so bad?
  15. Why don’t hornets build their nests where I can see them?
  16. Why was sow-in-heat bear lure ever invented and why am I carrying a leaking bottle of it in my pocket?
  17. Why am I sitting in a tree stand, three miles from the truck, with a .30-06 across my lap and.243 bullets in my hunting vest?
  18. Why does my tailgate never close on a cheap fly rod?
  19. Why did I order the ham-and-cheese omelet and hash browns with onions before going 40 miles offshore in eight-foot swells?
  20. Why did Isaac Newton fall asleep under a tree fulla ripe apples? Hmm. Thinking on it, kid, I shoulda given you an “A” for that one.